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May 2000

Bernie Grant, Guyanese Born Black British Activist MP Dies

(We must know, honor, respect, defend and honor our heroes)

Bernie Grant, 56, one of Britain’s first black Member of Parliament died, leaving behind a legacy of tireless crusades for civil and political rights, for blacks, the underprivileged and the needy of all races. He waged these battles not only in England but internationally for which he earned worldwide respect. Hot Calaloo joins in the many tributes which have come in from England, the Caribbean and all over the world.

Early years
Born in Guyana, and resident in Britain since 1963, Bernie Grant worked as a British Railways clerk, National Union of Public Employees area officer, and as a partisan of the Black Trade Unionists Solidarity Movement. In the political sphere he joined the Labour Party in 1975 and was elected as Member of Parliament for Tottenham.

Grant had served for a decade as local councillor in the London Borough of Haringey, of which he was elected Leader in 1985. He was the first ever Black Leader of a local authority in Europe, and in this capacity had responsibility for an annual budget of some 163;500 million pounds, and the well-being of a quarter of a million people, many of them black and ethnic minorities.

Crusading world citizen
Bernie Grant brought to Parliament a long and distinguished record as a leading campaigner against injustice and racism. He was :

  • a founder member of the Standing Conference of Afro-Caribbean and Asian Councillors
  • a member of the Labour Party Black Sections.
  • a member of the National Executive of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Britain, with a longstanding concern about the situation in Southern Africa. He accompanied the Rev. Jesse Jackson on his mission to South Africa in February 1990, greeting Nelson Mandela on the day of his release.
  • known for a keen interest in the affairs of the Caribbean region, and of Central America, Ireland and Cyprus.
  • also involved in efforts to tackle racism on a European wide level, in association with European Members of Parliament and European anti-racist groups.
  • a member of the Committee of Eminent Persons on Reparations for Africa, and has been prominent in bringing this issue to Britain, as the chair of the African Reparations Movement (UK).
  • active in attempting to bring together black politicians, business men and women, both in Britain and throughout the world and was founder and chair of the Global Trade Centre
  • regarded by many as a leading spokesperson, not only for black people, but also for women, the disabled, the elderly, the Irish, and for youth as well as for the poor and deprived.


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T&T and Jamaica Get New Soccer Coaches

T&T surprisingly replaces winning coach

T&T fire Bertille St. Claire
Trinidad and Tobago soccer team achieved its greatest finish in the Gold Cup by reaching the final and losing by a mere 0-1 to champions Canada, as 1998 World Cup finalists Jamaica, USA, and Mexico fell by the wayside. It was a tremendous achievement and must have filled the hearts of its countrymen at home and abroad with pride. Well, not all. For as coach Bertille St. Clair arrived home he was greeted with his marching papers. The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation informed him that he had been fired! So at the moment of his greatest glory, he was removed as the national coach. The TTFF also removed players David Nakhid, Jerren Nixon and Michael McComie from the national team.

Two of the four TTFF board who spearheaded the removal of St. Clair are Jack Warner and Oliver Camps. Jack Warner is very powerful as he is the FIFA CONCAAF Vice President as well as the owner of the professional soccer club in T&T. Oliver Camps is president of TTFF. Oddly in January, before the Gold Cup success of St. Clair, Camps endorsed the coach by stating, "When Coach Bertille St. Clair was handed the reigns of the national team approximately two years ago, many viewed it as a caretaker position. The theory was that St. Clair would do the job, until a more high profile individual could be hired. However, after creditable results under trying circumstances, St. Clair's contract has been renewed until the year 2002.. Which means barring failure, he'll be the man to chart our course of action during the WC qualifiers."

Winning start for new coach
The new coach is Ian Porterfield, who got the job almost a week before T&T undertook its first World Cup 2002 campaign against the Netherland Antilles. Fans and players were irate over the firing. Some overseas players even threatened to quit. This was obviously a bad decision, badly executed, and badly timed. It could have torpedoed T&T’s 2002 World Cup hopes. But, T&T has weathered the storm. Players have swallowed their hurt and have submerged their loyalty to St. Clair to the greater loyalty to country. They went out and killed Netherland Antilles 5-0 and so far have waged a sucessful battle in the other World Cup qualifiers. But, there has to be some residual bitterness, and who knows how much damage has been done in the long term?(For all the results on CONCACAF World Cup qualifying Preliminary stage 2000: Caribbean zone )

(Hot Calaloo was unable to get much information on the new coach, Ian Porterfield, and invites anyone with such information to send it here so we may share it with other readers.)

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Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz get new coach

Sebastio Lazaroni
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have a new soccer coach. He is Sebastio Lazaroni and like his predecessor, Rene Simoes, is also from Brazil. He has impressive credentials. He coached Brazil 1990 World Cup team, and his resume includes coach of such powerful international soccer clubs as Corinthians in Brazil, and Italian club Fiorentina. He will receive a monthly salary of US$30,000 per month, along with free housing and a car. But, he will have to produce. A great deal is expected of him and it is spelled out in his contract. The 2 stage contract requires him to get the national team past the first round to the CONCACAF group of six playoff in the first stage. This culminates in December 2000. After this his performance will be evaluated and if sucessful, he will move on to stage 2, which will run from January 1 to December 2001. His real title is of course technical director. Carl Brown has been brought back on his staff as the national coach. Brown was the national coach under Rene Simoes most of the time until their controversial parting early last year.

Jamaica’s World Cup campaign starts mid-July
Fortunately for the Reggae Boyz, they did not have to compete in the preliminary round of the CONCACAF playoffs. Like the US and Mexico, they were automatically placed in the next round. And, lucky for them too, as this year it seems they could "not beat a drum", compiling such a dismal record. So, instead Jamaica will kick-off their 2002 World Cup campaign on July 12 or 16 against either St Vincent and the Grenadines or Antigua and Barbuda away from home.


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St. Vincent's near anarchy

It seems unfortunately for St. Vincent and the Grenadines that they are the latest CARICOM territory to be wracked with near anarchy. For over two weeks now opposition politicians, labour unions, and civic organisations  have crippled the country with protest demonstrations in their attempt to force the government of of Prime Minister, Sir James Mitchell, to resign.. They are protesting the Parliament’s approval of higher pensions and gratuities for MP’s. These demonstrations have brought large crowds into the streets, overwhelmed police, blocked streets and shut down businesses. So much so that a concerned CARICOM sent a mediation team led by current chairman, Prime Minister Denzil Lewis. The team which also included T&T’s PM, Basdeo Panday, could hardly make it out of the airport because of the demonstrations. Subsequent negotiations have not borne results so far (May 3,2000).


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Jamaica university to offer on-line courses

In the next academic year, The School of Business and Technology of Jamaica’s University of Technology (UTech) is set to offer 5 of its courses on-line. This number will increase so that by the year 2005, approximately 50% of the classes will be offered on-line.

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Antigua charges "colonialism , imperialism"

"As a small island developing state, Antigua and Barbuda has in the past and in the present has been faced with and been subjected to the neo-colonialist and imperialistic posturing of developed countries"
These passionate words were spoken by an official of Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of Planning at an international meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. He was echoing similar sentiments expressed by his fellow East Caribbean countries, St. Lucia, St. Kitts-Nevis, and Grenada. But what issue could have stirred such serious charges which even the US war on their banana industry did not? It was whaling. Yes, whaling. These Caribbean countries were supporting a motion to lift the ban on trade in minke and gray whales. The motion had been made jointly by Norway and Japan at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. After heated debate, the motion failed, leaving these Caribbean ‘whaling nations" and motion sponsors Norway and Japan very disappointed and obviously very angry.


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T&T police raid software pirates

"dem ah call us pirate..."
Trinidad and Tobago police carried out two raids on suspected software pirates. The first raid was in San Fernando against a computer company there. The other raid was against a computer reseller in East Trinidad. The raids were precipitated by tips from The Business Software Alliance (BSA). BSA was founded in 1998 by the worlds leading software developers to maintain an international vigilance against software piracy.


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RFK Jr. brings environmental fight to the Caribbean

The son of the late US Attorney General and presidential contender of the same name, Robert Kennedy Jr., and nephew to the late US president John Kennedy, has taken his environmental crusade to the Caribbean. Why? In his own words, this renown environmental lawyer activist and college professor, says "What we try to do is to follow certain companies around and say, 'No, you can't flee the United States in order to try and destroy the environment elsewhere’".
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. visited the Bahamas recently to protest a controversial, U.S.-backed housing development that he says will harm natural resources and historic sites. Kennedy told hundreds at a town hall meeting that one financial backer of the project - San-Francisco-based Fremont Realty Capital - pulled out of the Clifton Cay project last week because it realized that the developer's environmental study "would not pass muster in any form in the U.S." The developers intend to build 637 homes as waterfront property. Kennedy, a staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the project would harm coral reefs and strip sand from beaches in the area known as Clifton Kennedy said he's not meddling in Bahamian affairs, but wants to monitor a U.S. company overseas.
Vieques -controversial Puerto Rican Island
There, he went scuba diving with protesters off the coast of bomb-ravaged Vieques Island and said he would sue the U.S. Navy for endangering sea and bird life during military exercises. Kennedy inspected sunken munitions buried in coral reefs, hefted an artillery shell and surveyed a sunken barge off Vieques, where a small group of protesters has occupied the training range for almost a year. "We've got to get the Navy out of here," he said after diving around the barge, which was used as a target for warships

Flash Update: Hundreds of armed federal agents removed more than 200 protesters from a Navy target range in a predawn raid on May 4th on this Caribbean island, ending a year-long standoff between the squatters and the military and clearing the way for firing exercises with dummy bombs to resume in a few weeks.

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Nurses Strike in T&T turns bitter and disruptive

For over three weeks, nurses in Trinidad and Tobago have staged protests and job actions to achieve improvement in their job conditions. The protest action has generated lots of bitterness and disrupted in-patient and out-patient services all over the country. The nurses have made a 10-point demand. This includes a 50% salary increase and the settlement of all increment arrears.

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Did protests nudge IMF to really help poor nations?

The International Monetary Fund concluded a protest-marred opening session in Washington DC recently with a statement repeating past pledges to seek greater debt relief for the poorest countries and reform the IMF so it can better prevent financial crises. The nine-page communique by the fund's policy-setting International Monetary and Financial Committee listed the agency's current work on debt relief and internal reform without introducing any major new ideas. The IMF's current efforts on debt relief and other matters have been criticized as inadequate by anti-globalization activists, including those in the streets outside who failed to shut down the opening meetings but did make getting to the sessions difficult

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Clinton adviser hired by T&T ruling party

The ruling United National Congress (UNC) party is pulling out all the stops to ensure their re-election. The Basdeo-Panday-led party has hired US President Clinton’s political consultant, James Carville. He recently visited T&T to meet with the Prime Minister and the cabinet. PM Panday considered the meeting so important that he opted out of a special function at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital concerning the striking nurses. Although Carville’s visit was short, it is reported that he remains in daily contact with UNC party officials via the internet. So far, Mr. Carville’s salary for his services has not been reported. He predicts a UNC win in the next elections.

Editor’s Note: I like James Carville for US politics, but am very uncomfortable with his involvement in Caribbean politics. Does this mean that the T&T opposition will obtain a Bush adviser? It seems to inevitably increase the risk of American influence and interference.

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Voting in Cuban Elections

This is a presidential election year in the US, so voting is the heaviest. This means approximately 33% of those eligible will probably vote. A mere 33%! Elections for other offices are usually even less. Cuba just had elections, but in "communist" Cuba, Cubans voted in massive numbers for city councils. According to Associated Press (AP) the turnout was projected at more than 90 percent. Cubans elected city councils across the island in voting that officials argue is more democratic than that in most other countries. Nearly 8 million Cubans aged 16 and over were eligible to vote, and the vast majority had done so well before midday, choosing between two or more candidates in each district. In the past three such elections since 1992, more than 97 percent of eligible voters came to the polls. After voting in the Vedado area of Havana, President Fidel Castro charged that in the United States, ''democracy consists simply of who has more money for publicity, for the campaign.'' And this without James Carville!

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US renege might close Haiti mission

Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned Wednesday a new U.N. mission to help promote human rights and organize elections in Haiti may have to close because the U.S. hasn't kept its promise to help pay for it. In a letter to the General Assembly president, Annan said the civilian mission, started March 16 to help bring development and democracy to Haiti, has been unable to do its job because it didn't have enough money. Annan suggested the 188 U.N. members may want to transfer the mission's duties to the U.N. Development Program, which already runs democratic governance, poverty and environmental programs in Haiti. U.N. spokesman David Wimhurst said the secretary-general's message was "we should be prepared for a worst-case scenario if the funding doesn't come through."

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Haitian murder - a setback to democracy

With Haiti's fledgling democracy at a turning point, the State Department said it is deeply troubled by the killing of prominent Haitian radio journalist Jean Leopold Dominique. "We urge the government of Haiti to ensure a thorough and prompt investigation," spokesman James P. Rubin said. Dominique, a strong advocate of a free press in Haiti, reportedly was shot dead by two gunmen as he arrived for work Monday at Radio Haiti Inter. The assailants also killed a station worker. The attack underscored the sense of insecurity in Haiti as officials try to organize elections and install a new parliament. "There have been a number of reported threats against opposition candidates," Rubin said, and a number of other disturbing events have not been explained fully

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Gleaner Columnist Morris Cargill Dies

Morris Cargill, senior Gleaner columnist and public commentator died in hospital on April 8th. He was 85 and had been a columnist for 46 years.

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Rose Hall Great House Restorer John Rollins is Dead

American multi-millionaire John Rollins has died. He recently returned from his home in Rose Hall, Montergo Bay, Jamaica, back to Delaware and died unexpectedly there. Mr. Rollins was a former lieutenant governor of Delaware. He was responsible for the restoration of the famous Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay and other projects. Most recently he was involved in building of the US$125 million 430-room Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall Hotel.

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Antigua deplores C&W high ‘Net’ rates

Once again Cable & Wireless faces bitter complaints of overcharging by a Caribbean country. This time it is Antigua and Barbuda. Prime Minister Lester Bird is even threatening to scrap their monopoly of internet services as the country increasingly takes advantage of the growing internet gambling business there. "We cannot be operating on the basis that our rates are way out of ‘whack’ with the rest of the competitive world," Bird said.

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T&T’s Servol gets world acclaim

The World Bank showered praise on Servol, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s top non-governmental organisation (NGO) for its outstanding success in early childhood care and education. The occasion was the World Bank conference on "Investing in Our Children’s Future" in Washington DC. Servol was used as a model for the conference. Founder Fr. Gerard Pantin was lauded for his one-man crusade in the beginning against poverty, unemployment and low self-esteem. Today, the NGO has grown to

  • operate 154 early childhood centers
  • run 40 adolescent centers
  • offer adolescent parenting training skills to over 3,000 young mothers
  • provide high technology training to over 4,500 adolescents
  • enrol over 5,000 children in early childhood programs.

In 1987 the Government recognized Servol’s value and ensured its sustainability by making it their agent for non-formal education. It took over the payment of its teachers and instructors, who had been paid before by foreign grants.

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In the US, all that glitters….

Even before this prosperity the US is experiencing, it has been a model for the Caribbean and many other countries. To be sure there is a lot to be gained by this imitation. But not everything. As a matter of fact, with all the prosperity, freedoms, impressive institutions, "all the kings horses and all the king’s men", some problems are cause for great alarm. One such case is the prison problem in the US.
According to the Associated Press, the number of imprisoned American adults grew at a slower rate last year but still hit a record high of 1.86 million, the US Justice Department recently reported. With this latest increase of nearly 60,000 prisoners, the U.S. may have matched or even surpassed Russia as the country with the highest rate of incarceration. As of June 1999, prisons and jails held 1,860,520 people, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report. That's an increase of more than a million people since 1985, when the figure was less 800,000. Last year's total included more than 1.1 million state prisoners, about 606,000 men and women in local jails, and about 118,000 federal inmates. The rate of state and federal prison growth was 4.4%, the lowest since the 2.3% growth in 1979.
This shows a serious fundamental flaw in US society. Let us hope the Caribbean is vigilant and does not import that too.

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Darrel Brown - A New Ato Boldon

Remember this name, Darrel Brown. The Trinidadian had the fastest time in the 100 meters, a record breaking 10.36 seconds in the recently completed CARIFTA games in Grenada. He was hardly challenged. But, this time was not for the senior age group of the competition, the under-20 men. It was for the under-17. Darrel Brown is only 15!

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Penn Relays

Jamaican high school athletes gave another impressive performance in the recently completed Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

In the boys competition, Jamaica College won their third 4x400m title as Jamaica teams swept the first 4 places. Wolmers Boys won the 4x100m, while KC’s Ryan Clarke took the 400m hurdles. Wolmer’s Aundre Edwards alos sucessfully defended his long jump title.

The girls did even better. Vere Technical's girls romped to their fifth straight 4x100m title; Holmwood made it three straight wins in the 4x800m while St. Jago helped Jamaican teams make a clean sweep of the events with a stirring victory in the 4x400m relay. Also, Mannings School's 17-year-old Kamesha Marshall set a Penn Relays record in the high school discus.

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World Cup 2002 CONCACAF Section – Caribbean Preliminary Round

Teams in the Caribbean Zone were drawn into home-and-away, knock-out pairings, grouped into three pools (as shown below). The winners of each group will automatically go through to the 12-team semi-final stage, which takes the form of three groups. The runners-up in each pool will play either Canada or one of the runners-up in the two Central American groups to make up the numbers.
Cuba, St. Vincent and Trinidad & Tobago were seeded as head of the respective pools (based on their results in the 1998 qualifying).
All matches are played over two legs - home and away. Scores appearing in (brackets) are final aggregate scores. For a full round up of results see below:

CONCACAF World Cup qualifying

Preliminary stage 2000: Caribbean zone

March 4 Trinidad & Tobago

5 - 0

Netherlands Antilles 
March 5 British Virgin Islands

1 - 5

March 5 Dominican Republic

3 - 0

March 5 Cuba

4 - 0

Cayman Islands
March 5 Anguilla

3 - 1

March 5 St Vincent & Grenadines

9 - 0

US Virgin Islands 
March 5 St Lucia

1 - 0

March 5 Barbados

2 - 2

March 11 Aruba

4 - 2

Puerto Rico 
March 11 Haiti

4 - 0

March 18 Grenada

2 (4) - (5) 3

March 19 Bermuda

9 (13) - (1) 0

British Virgin Islands 
March 19 Puerto Rico

2 (4) - (6) 2

March 19 St Kitts & Nevis

8 - 0

Turks & Caicos 
March 19 Netherlands Antilles

1 (1) - (6) 1

Trinidad & Tobago 
March 19 Surinam

1 (1) - (1) 0

St Lucia 
March 19 Cayman Islands

0 (0) - (4) 0

March 19 US Virgin Islands

1 (1) - (14) 5

St. Vincent 
March 19 Dominica

1 (1) - (7) 3

March 19 Montserrat

1 (1) - (6) 3

Dominican Republic 
March 19 Bahamas

2 (3) - (4) 1

March 21 Turks & Caicos

0 (0) - (14) 6

St Kitts & Nevis 
April 1 Haiti

9 - 0

April 1 Aruba

1 - 3

April 2 Trinidad & Tobago

3 - 0

Dominican Republic 
April 2 Cuba

1 - 0

April 16 Surinam

0 (1) - (0) 0

April 16 Barbados

4 (7) - (1) 0

April 16 St Vincent

1 - 0

St Kitts 
April 16 Antigua

0 - 0

April 16 Dominican Republic

0 (0) - (4) 1

Trinidad & Tobago 
April 16 Bahamas

0 (0) - (13) 4


Guyana Football Association suspended by FIFA - Antigua & Barbuda through by default

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